BAC recommends school district divest itself of Milford Main

The Business Advisory Council (BAC) consists a group of businesspeople who live and/or work in the Milford school district area.  The district is required to have a BAC by law, and the district can use the expertise it provides to help with school-to-work issues; support for business issues the district is dealing with; and other projects as the board sees fit.  The current BAC is chaired by Tom Rocklin, a Senior Technical Project Manager at Siemens PLM Software and long-time resident of the Milford school district.

The board had given the BAC the task of determining how best to leverage the potential of the Milford Main school building, located at 5 Points in Milford (where Rt. 28 and Rt. 50 meet).  Currently, several tenants rent space (Clermont County autism unit, Fit 4 Kidz, several artists), and St. Andrews uses the cafeteria and playground.  This allows the district to stay in the black on the building, paying for utilities and minor repairs and still seeing a bit of excess money.

However, decisions must be made for the building long-term; more hefty repairs are likely to be needed, and if the space is viable as rental offices, other repairs and cosmetic work must be done.  The BAC’s job was to evaluate the status of the building, determine what must be done to make it marketable, and then recommend a plan to market to other users.

As Mr. Rocklin says, the BAC recognizes that Milford Main is a beloved icon in our area, a beautiful building that no one wants to “go away.”  However, after extensive evaluation and input from developers, architects and many others, the BAC recommends the school district divests itself of the property as soon as practical.

Given the looming repairs that will be needed (roof & boiler failure are likely), it will require a significant investment to keep the building habitable.  If repairs of this magnitude are required, the building may need to be shut down.  To rent more space, a great deal of investment is required.  The BAC talked with several developers, all of whom felt the building required more investment than would be able to be recouped (based on local market rates).  So far, no company or organization have shown interest in taking the building on. “From a business perspective, it’s very unwise to throw money into the building,” says Mr. Rocklin.

The BAC is continuing their work and finishing the research they need to do on various options.  Certainly, if the district must either shut down the building or divest itself of it, this will greatly impact the current tenants.  However, the BAC’s research shows the required investment is extremely costly, and the district simply cannot justify diverting funds from an already tight budget devoted to serving our students in order to save this building.

I will continue to share information as it becomes available.

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15 Responses to “BAC recommends school district divest itself of Milford Main”

  1. SKupka Says:

    Understandable, but still disappointing… Hope we, as a community in partnership with the school district, can find an amicable solution. So much history….

  2. Kelly Kuhn Says:

    Thanks for the information!

  3. andreabrady Says:

    Yes, Susan, it is disappointing. The BAC is still looking at options; we’re not done yet. It would be a shame if our community has to lose this building.

  4. Sherrie (Prows) Campbell Says:

    I went to school the for my 6th and 7th yr of school. I graduated in 1981. This is a icon of Milford that should forever stand! Milford Schools (in my opinion) has become to big for their bitches. Miami Twp taxes are out of control. We need to get back to basics….come on!

  5. andreabrady Says:

    Sherrie, I don’t think anyone feels the building “should” be given up – the question is where we get the funds to maintain & replace. The emotions of the issue are one reason we wanted the BAC to take on the project. They can provide a better (and less emotional) perspective on what needs to be done and what it will cost. Because the building’s so old, the repairs will be extremely expensive. It can’t be used as-is for ongoing educational use b/c it does not meet current requirements (disability, etc), and it would be a fortune to address those issues. The BAC (and the district) is not done exploring options, but their initial report was not encouraging. We’ll see what information we get in the next few months.

  6. Milford Alum Says:

    With all the money from the levies, why do we have to sacrifice a great architectural treasure? Isn’t this how we lose most of our historical places and then regret later that we didn’t somehow save them? Investment is one thing but please don’t let money be the only factor in this equation. My father graduated in 1958 from when it was the High School. My brother and I both went through the school as the second generation. It is worth saving. Think outside the box people. They are saving historic buildings in Cincinnati. Can we at least see what they and other cities are doing to make things happen?

  7. Greg Keer Says:

    I remember Milford, Main from kindergarten. All of the Milford school system.students attended Milford Main.k-12. Having gone to St. Andrew grade school I have no particular attachment to Milford Main. I graduated from Milford High School in 1967. I believe it now serves as the junior high school.

    Making any intelligent comments on this blog posting becomes impossible as none mentions the numbers to totally rehabilitate the building. Until the financial cost is determined the ability to seriously address this problem can best be stated by the algebra formula X+ Y=1. (Jon Doughty and Mrs. Bruton would be shocked and pleasantly surprised that I remember any of my algebra.) The answer to the algebra equation yields infinity.

    Applying my legal training to this question of rehabilitation. I have three suggestions.

    1. Sell it to a for-profit business, enter a lease that would guarantee the repayments of the rehabilitation cost with interest. The for-profit business could be a pass-through entity allowing distribution of expenses and depreciation.

    2. I suspect that all donations made to a school board controlled fund for the rehabilitation of Milford Main should be tax deductible, and if not. . . .

    3. Set up a nonprofit corporation for fundraising and transfer Milford Main to the nonprofit.

    My intuition tells met that the BAC correctly analyzed the problem as to its cost. The current tax code will probably result in no taxable benefit to the donors. The tax code would benefit an investor group.

    For anything to make sense a specific cost proposal needs to be determined. I would guess that the cost would be between five and $10,000 for obtaining a relatively accurate estimate. Where will this money come from?

    Gregory A. Keer, MHS 1967
    attorney at law

  8. andreabrady Says:

    Hi Milford Alum & Greg,
    Thanks for commenting!

    Milford Alum, I agree we need to work to find ways to save our historical architecture, here and throughout our country. In certain areas, that is easy to do; in others, like Milford, it is apparently more difficult.

    Why? This related to what Greg mentions. He suggests selling the business to a for-profit group to rehab and use as a money-making venture. However, the cost for rehabilitation is so great that, for a building in Milford, it would be extremely difficult for the business to make up what they’d have to put in. The BAC did talk with several for-profit groups, who were initially very interested in the building – it is unique and the kind of project they love. However, once they got into the nitty-gritty of what needs to be done, their response changed. One group put it succinctly: if Main were in Hyde Park, it would be a no-brainer; but in Milford, it’s a no-brainer the other way, and they won’t touch it.

    That certainly doesn’t mean the district has given up. The BAC gave the most dire outlook but nothing has been voted on, or even discussed by the board. After the BAC report and subsequent article, several groups have contacted the district with ideas. Talks are continuing, and ideas are trickling in. The challenge is to find a combination of an idea that works and the money to make it happen. Ideas are plentiful, but money rarely is.

    Milford Alum, we have even looked into options such as having the building named an historic site, and so far nothing has worked. We’ll see what happens. As far as levy money – that is designated to operate the schools. While we could funnel some of our general fund revenue to maintenance (but not for restoration), that would hurt what we can provide the students. The district’s mission is to educate our students to the best of our ability.

  9. greg keer Says:

    Did you read my comment on football?

    My major asusumption: it could be rented back to the board as a school.

    Frankly if your bac does not have a ballpark guess they lack credibility. I mean guess +/- within $500 k.

  10. andreabrady Says:

    Greg, sorry, had to take care of something – but was working on this comment as you were posting your second post 🙂

    The building really can’t be used as a school any longer, at least not without extensive renovations that would be prohibitively expensive. There are very few bathrooms; there is no handicap accessibility; the building is full of asbestos; and much, much more. That is in addition to problems with the boilers and roof.

    The BAC has a lot more info; if you’re interested, I can put you in touch with the chair.

    As far as a non-profit taking it over – I can’t speak for the rest of the board, but from my perspective, that would be a wonderful solution. The challenge, once again, is who is willing to do so? Neither for-profit nor non-profit groups have been willing to take it on once they’ve gotten into the details. We’ve had people consider it for senior housing; condos; an art center; and much more. Interest has disappeared once the costs and available revenue sources are evaluated by those who know what it will take.

    If you’d like to start a non-profit dedicated to restoring and using the building, you’ll have a large group of people anxious to talk!

    Yes, I did see your comment re: football; I’ll answer on that post.

    Thanks again for commenting!

    • Missy Grundhoefer Says:

      Hello Andrea, I hope this doesn’t post twice. Can you put me in touch with the chair for the BAC. I would like to get more information on the findings,financial cost ect. On Milford Main Middle School. Thank you,
      Missy

      • andreabrady Says:

        Hi Missy,
        Thanks for getting in touch! It would actually be better if you talked with district administration. I told Dr. Farrell about your group last week; he said they would be glad to provide whatever info you need. Jeff Johnson (johnson_jeff@milfordschools.org) would be the best person to contact.

  11. greg keer Says:

    Simply put. The scool board lacked money, therefore deferred maintenance.

    Flat rooves require constant maintenance. Once pre WW Ii internal walls get wet the more oisture the intrenal walls the more likely the walls become unsalvagable. Why? Percolating water released all of the mold into the ambienit enviroment. Mold results from cellulose in the decaying ceiling tile and the horsehair used in plaster lath construction

    I agree with the bac and the conclusion of the board.

    I have one reservation. The people interested in the Promethesian task of rescuing Milford Main be given a chance.

  12. andreabrady Says:

    Thank you for your input & perspective, Greg. Yes, likely the board did defer maintenance, especially under the previous superintendent when even the buildings in use were not cared for properly. However, there are bigger issues as well: asbestos, old systems, inadequate restroom facilities, lack of handicapped access. All that adds up to many problems for the district.

    Certainly, if any person, company, organization – wants to step up and figure out something to do with the building, we want to hear from them! And remember, the board has not decided what to do with the building. We received a report from the BAC, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept any or all of it. Whatever happens with Main will be a long process; nothing is going to be done right away. The board has much, much more due diligence to do, and we are waiting for more input from the BAC as well.

  13. Greg Keer Says:

    With 30 years of construction litigation as part of my law practice. I probably have a better background on knowing the buildings problems than the advisory committee. I kind of wonder why you keep telling me things that I both know and have agreed to. I really would like an answer to that.

    The advisory committee omitted one point. To di vest space the school board of the Milford main building and property means somebody else ends up with the building and the property. 30 years of practicing law has always led me to ask the next question. Who are the business advisory committee recommending devasting the property to?

    The other post I made concerned the football team. The school district scurries around seeking structural changes.. My question simply asked why should students play football?

    I played under a football coach who before he came to Milford was Cincinnati coach of the year. From the high school team. He had previously coached, he had to Pro football draftees. Milford failed to provide him with this quality of football player. Again, how do you motivate teenage boys to play high school football?

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